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IPPIE: Involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education

1. IPPIE - What is it?

IPPIE, a mediation project supported by the European Centre for Modern Languages of the Council of Europe (ECML), helps create relationships among people who are active in education in order to encourage the involvement of parents in plurilingual and intercultural education.  

Plurilingual and intercultural education - promoted by the Council of Europe since the publication of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages (2001) - aims at developing knowledge in several languages-cultures. Parents have an important role to play in this kind of education, particularly by sharing their family languages and cultures in schools.  

This project  also aims to contribute to the creation of intercultural societies that  are open and welcoming towards the linguistic and cultural diversity brought about by geographical mobility. In multicultural societies cultures are simply juxtaposed without any real contact between them, whereas intercultural society implies educating its children, the future citzens of Europe, and being interested in the different languages and cultures which together make up the societies these children live in or will live in. Developing linguistic and cultural mediation skills is a fundamental element of living together. 

IPPIE - Why?

A survey on the involvement of parents in schools, which was carried out by the IPPIE-project team and by its network of mediators, showed that relations between schools and families are still weak, in spite of institutional encouragement aimed at developing connections between schools and parents.  However, the IPPIE-survey on the benefits of the involvement of families in schools, as well as numerous published studies, show that forms of collaboration between schools and families bring encouraging results both for the students’ commitment at school and their understanding of school goals. Furthermore, experiences of plurilingual and intercultural activities carried out at school with the involvement of families have been found to have a strong impact on curiosity towards the languages and cultures present in these environments and social integration of parents of foreign origin. 

Since schools can only offer classes in a limited range of languages, they could draw on the families of their pupils, inviting them into school so that they can  benefit from the linguistic and cultural knowledge and skills in these families and in so doing,  contribute to the creation of plural societies which are open to diversity and which develop the language and cultural skills of tomorrow's citizens.. In a world where diversity in languages and cultures is more and more a part of everyday life, schools, this will allow schools to equip students with a wide range of language and culture skills, skills they will need to live, work and take part in social, cultural and democratic life.

Language education based on the pluringual and intercultural approaches supported by the IPPIE project includes the language of schooling, languages taught at schoold  as well as  the internal diversity that characterizes every language  (referred to by  sociolinguists  as "language variation", commonly defined as "language register", "regional variety" or even "accent").

All parents – no matter whether they consider themselves "monolingual" or "bi/plurilingual" - have an important role to play in the development of education for linguistic and cultural diversity, as each of them carries a linguistic and cultural background which is at the same time unique and common to other people.

Who is it for?

The IPPIE project arose from the desire to promote the involvement of parents in plurilingual and intercultural education by providing them with information about the impact of linguistic and cultural diversity inclusion in schools and tools to implement this, as identified in the Framework of Reference of Plural Approaches (FREPA-CARAP). The first primary beneficiaries of this project are therefore parents and, more widely, educators and decision-makers in education policy.  The IPPIE-project is directed at:  

  • parents, in order to :

- raise their awareness of the importance of a plurilingual and intercultural education which is truly inclusive of the diversity of languages and cultures in, irrespective of the value of the languages on the "language market" ;
- provide them with tools (examples of educational activities)  to encourage and support their participation ;
- create networks of parents who promote these plural approaches.

  • teachers and education professionals in order to :
    - develop a positive vision of the plurality of languages and cultures present in schools;
    - develop their training in plurilingual and intercultural education;
    - provide them with tools (examples of activities involving parents in plurilingual and intercultural education, drawing, in particular, from the CARAP-FREPA database of teaching materials)  - promote the creation of networks of teachers, head teachers, pedagogical advisors and inspectors who promote these plural approaches.
  • institutional decision-makers :     
    -    provide them with concrete evidence about the advantages of parental involvement in plurilingual and intercultural education, so that they can present arguments in favour of it.   
    and, of course
  •  learners in order to:
    -assist them in their linguistic and cultural education;
    -bridge the gap between the different environments in which they grow up (mainly school and home during their first years)
    - provide those whose languages / cultures are not valued socially with  concrete recognition of the equal value and dignity of all languages / cultures


To support the sharing of knowledge and information, IPPIE provides the following resources on its ECML website  and on the CARAP-FREPA website

- examples of linguistic and cultural activities (activities of language awareness, intercomprehension, etc.)

- examples of such activities involving parents 

What are the benefits for civil society?

The IPPIE project, which is a mediation project, is aimed at disseminating scientific knowledge about the advantages of approaches involving families in plurilingual and intercultural education as well as at disseminating examples of practices. Its aim is to:

  • have an impact on the social representations of languages/cultures, so that all languages/cultures are  considered to have equal value in the development of  communication skills
  • encourage active participation of parents in children's school life
  • promote the adoption of such approaches by education professionals
  • help in creating networks of ambassadors for these approaches (networks of parents, teachers, etc.)

Present partners: 

ADEB - Association pour le Développement de l'Enseignement Bi-Plurilingue – (France) 

ACT – Association Approches, Cultures et Territoires – Centre de ressources sur les questions de diversité culturelle, d’ethnicité, d’histoire des migrations, d’éducation et de lutte contre les discriminations, (Marseille, France) 

APIC - Association pour la Promotion de l'Intercompréhension des Langues - (Association Internationale) 

DULALA - D'une langue à l'Autre, Association pour l’accompagnement des familles multilingues et des professionnels dans la prise en compte et la transmission des langues et cultures 

EDiLiC - Éducation et Diversité Linguistique et Culturelle – (Association Internationale) 

EPA - European Parents' Association - Association européenne de parents d'élèves 

LEND - Movimento di Lingua e Nuova Didattica – (Italie) 

PREFIcs - Plurilinguismes, Représentations, Expressions Francophones - information, communication, sociolinguistique, Laboratoire de recherche, Université Européenne de Bretagne, Rennes 2 (France)